Walden Two | Study Guide

B. F. Skinner

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Walden Two | Chapter 13 | Summary



The group moves to the area for children one to three years of age. Like the babies, they are also in rooms in which the environment is controlled, and the children sleep only in diapers. Mrs. Nash tells the group some of the children are going on a picnic. This prompts Castle to ask whether the other children get jealous. Frazier discusses how jealousy has no place in a noncompetitive environment like Walden Two. He says they have eliminated emotions that are not "useful" through behavioral engineering.


This chapter is important because it segues to the topic of behavioral engineering. Behavioral engineering is central to the success of the community, whether a person experiences it as a child or an adult. We learn Mrs. Nash's confusion when Castle mentions jealousy stems from her inability to understand why other children would be jealous of one another. This is because she was initiated into the community when she was 12.

Frazier is proud the community can do away with negative emotions like hate, fear, and anger. The idea here is when certain emotions yield no positive results, the emotions eventually disappear. This exemplifies Skinner's operant behavior concept. We see this process of behavior modification throughout the story. It is not a stimulus that changes behavior, but it is the presence or absence of any reward for certain types of behavior, and this is again the core of Skinner's "operant conditioning." This chapter is a prime example of the "shaping" of individuals starting in infancy.

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